On the September 29, 2010, FamilyLife Today broadcast, “Addressing the Heart,” host Dennis Rainey gave the following list of truths and a description of the heart from Tedd and Margy Tripp’s book Instructing a Child’s Heart. I found it one of the most practically helpful and spiritually nourishing discussions on parenting I have ever heard. In a nutshell, they say, teach your children to “beat a path to the cross.” You can listen to it here:
Ten Truths for Parents to Impress on Their Children
- Life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. It is not found in new jeans, a new iPod, a car, one’s abilities, or exciting, heart-pounding experiences.
- We need to walk in wisdom, submit to the goodness of God’s way, and turn away from our own agendas.
- A life of prayer and godly counsel is our desire.
- Choices that are principled rather than popular, foregoing immediate gratification for the sake of eternal reward, are the goal.
- God’s authority structures are a blessing. For an eight-year-old this means I can trust Mom’s decision that I need an eight o’clock bedtime. Demanding my own way when I still need parental guidance short-circuits God’s training process.
- Loving parents are a blessing from God. Loyalty to parental instruction is an expression of gratitude to God. The majority culture offers a fraudulent counterfeit by encouraging young people to be loyal to their peers rather than their parents.
- The heart is the wellspring of life. The things children give their hearts to the hopes, ambitions, desires, dreams, joys, and concerns will set the course of life.
- Our hearts cannot be trusted (Jer. 17:9). Our hearts will lie to us. Children (and their parents) are easily entrapped and need to be accessible to others for counsel, instruction, and nurture.
- Friendships are for the purpose of glorifying God, encouraging others, showing love and compassion, and gaining encouragement to do what is right.
- There is a sowing and reaping principle in the Bible and we need to develop a harvest mentality. Children who trust and obey God find their heads crowned with wonderful blessings. Of course, this truth cuts both ways. The ten-year-old boy who is lazy about his chores will reap what he is sowing because God will not be mocked.
Adjectives That Describe the Heart
The adjectives used in the Bible to describe the heart are an eye-opener. The heart is variously described as adulterous, anguished, arrogant, astray, bitter, blameless, blighted, broken, calloused, circumcised, contrite, crushed, darkened, deadened, deceitful, deluded, devoted, disloyal, envious, evil, faint, faithful, far off, fearful, foolish, grateful, happy, hard, haughty, humble, mad, malicious, obstinate, perverse, proud, pure, rebellious, rejoicing, responsive, righteous, sick, sincere, sinful, steadfast, troubled, unfeeling, uncircumcised, upright, unsearchable, weary, wicked, wise, and wounded.
Excerpted from pages 41-42 and page 53 of Instructing a Child’s Heart by Tedd and Margy Tripp. Published by Shepherd Press. © 2008 by Tedd Tripp and Margy Tripp.
And for more to challenge and convict you (you can’t teach what you don’t know, right?) go listen to one of the most encouraging teachings I’ve heard in my twenty-two years of doing the thing, or read the transcript here: